Jack Ross admits Hibernian are not putting a timescale on Scott Allan’s return to action despite the playmaker re-joining his team-mates for training.
Allan has not played since August, with a mystery illness being blamed for his continuing absence.
However, there has been positive signs for the 29-year-old after he was given the green light from doctors to pull his boots back on this week and join in with his colleagues at their East Mains base.
But boss Ross is adamant the former Dundee United, Portsmouth and Celtic player will not be rushed along the road to recovery.
He said: “Scott is back in, which is another step forward for him. It’s small steps forward for him but it is another box ticked.
“He’s got a fair bit to go in terms of building up his training given the length of time he’s been out.
“But it’s all good progress for us and all positive for Scott, most importantly.
“I don’t think we’ve put any kind of timeline on anything. We don’t want to put any kind of pressure on him to be available by a certain time.
“We will just continue to see how he progresses. We’ve done that from day one that he became unavailable and we’ll continue to do the same.
“In the recent time he’s made good progress and if that continues then hopefully he will be in a good place physically and may be in contention.
“But neither us as a club or Scott as an individual are really looking that far ahead at the moment.”
Ross’ team has not done too badly without Allan in fairness.
They sit third in the Premiership table after Saturday’s 4-0 drubbing of Hamilton and can book a Betfred Cup semi-final slot if they overcome Alloa at the Indodrill Stadium on Tuesday night.
Celtic’s exit means the path to the final has opened up and Ross wants his team to make up for the disappointment of losing their delayed Scottish Cup semi to local rivals Hearts last month.
He said: “Celtic have dominated the cups over the last four years but there are still some good teams left in the competition even if they are out.
“We’ve always said that these cup competitions offer us that realistic chance of achieving success.
“We had the disappointment of going out of the Scottish Cup at the last four but progress in this tournament has been good to date so it’s another opportunity for us to progress and try to win it.
“When you get to semi-finals and fall short it is painful and does hurt. But we’ve got a group who want to keep putting themselves in the positions and give themselves the chance of going that step or two further forward.”
This will be the first time Ross has taken on Alloa since he quit as Wasps boss to move to St Mirren in 2016.
“Alloa are a brilliant club and were huge for the development of my career,” he said. “I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity they gave me.
“I still speak regularly with a lot of people at the club. I was over at one of their matches recently so I know how difficult a match it will be.
“It doesn’t surprise me that they produced the kind of result like they did in the last round (beating Hearts). There is a still a number of players there who I signed, while they have a very experienced and capable manager in Peter Grant.
“It’s a difficult tie but the good thing is we’re going in to it in a really positive frame of mind given what’s happened in recent games.”